Benefits of Being Vegan for the Environment

A bunch of food sitting on top of a wooden table

November 1st is World Vegan Day, but no matter the day, it’s good to recall all the ways that going vegan can save the world. No exaggeration. Veganism can save the world. Just ask the UN. The question is: are you brave enough to become a vegan?

Here’s why you should give veganism some thought (and become at least a little more vegan):

Veganism combats world hunger

A plate of food with a slice of cake on a table

A lot of the food that’s grown in the world isn’t being eaten by humans. In fact, 70% of the grain grown in the US feeds livestock, and, globally, 83% of farmland is set aside to raise animals. 

It’s estimated that 700 million tons of food that could be consumed by humans goes to livestock each year.

While meat is more calorically dense than plants, more aggregate calories (and more diverse nutrient profiles) could be produced if that land was dedicated to various plants.  

Plus, all the deforestation, overfishing and pollution caused by meat and fish industries limits the overall capacity of the Earth to produce food.

If more farmland was used to grow crops for humans, then more people could be fed at less of an expense to the planet.

This understanding is becoming more urgent as the global population is expected to hit or surpass 9.1 billion by 2050. There’s simply not enough land on the planet to raise enough meat to feed everyone the average American diet. Nor can Earth cope with the pollution this would cause.

It conserves water

Food on a table

Hundreds of millions of people around the world don’t have access to clean water. Many more people struggle with periodic water scarcity, sometimes because of drought and sometimes because of mismanagement of water sources.

Livestock guzzle more fresh water than just about anything else. They’re also one of the biggest polluters of fresh water.

The more livestock the world replaces with plants, the more water there will be to go around.

It cleans the soil

Similar to how livestock pollute water, they also erode and weaken soil. This is partly because raising livestock usually leads to deforestation, which clears huge swaths of land of the different elements (such as trees) that provide nutrients and resilience, to make room for the livestock to roam.

Raising a diversity of plants, instead, nourishes soil and leads to long-term resilience.

A vegan diet reduces energy consumption

Raising livestock costs a lot of energy. This is due to a wide range of factors including: it takes a long time to raise animals; they consume a lot of food that was cultivated on land that could have been put to other use; meat products need to be shipped and refrigerated; and meat takes a long time to process from slaughterhouse to kitchen table.

Plant-based proteins, meanwhile, can be raised with 8 times less energy costs than meat-based proteins.

It even purifies the air

All the livestock in the world cause more air pollution than all the cars, buses, planes, ships and other modes of transportation in the world combined.  

A vegan diet will make you more healthy

All the nutrients you need–and probably don’t get enough of–are provided by a vegan diet. Fresh vegetables, fruits and other vegan staples are teeming with nutrients that meat just doesn’t provide.

You can get all the protein you need from peanut butter, quinoa, lentils, beans, and much, much more.

These are some benefits of being vegan for the environment.

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